Going on Pilgrimage…

The Way“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.”  (Luke 4:1-2)

The Season of Lent begins this week.  Ash Wednesday is February 13 and we will gather for worship at 6:30 pm for a somewhat traditional service that includes the imposition of ashes and Holy Communion.  It may seem a little out of place to revive these church traditions every year in the midst of a culture that cries out for the church to be more contemporary and relevant.  As I look at the world, however, I see people who are lost in the wilderness of all this relevance and are crying out for something stable to grab hold of that won’t let them down.  I believe that Lent offers us a wonderful opportunity to examine the culture and our place in it through the lens of our faith.  In many ways, we are all lost in the wilderness and are seeking a way back.

“I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  (Isaiah 43:19)  Over the next six weeks we will walk through a sermon series inspired by the film, “The Way.”  We are using this film as an inspiration for a Lenten journey that will help us to illuminate the roads and pathways of our own lives and guide us as we make our way toward the celebration of Easter.  (Please understand that we are not using this film as a substitute for Scripture, or as a theological resource.  We are simply taking from it the idea that our journey as human beings takes in many different ways that challenge and inspire us.)

We will begin our Lenten pilgrimage on “The Wandering Way.”  This is a place where many of us begin – wandering through a world that threatens to overwhelm our faith with its distractions and noise.  It is also in this wandering that we often encounter our true selves.

“The Way Around” will help us examine how others in our lives may either illuminate or block our spiritual journey.  How do we navigate this way?

We will then move to “The High Way” as we seek to understand that this journey is not all about us after all.  God’s way is different from ours in so many ways; how may we embody God’s grace to others?

“The Way Home” challenges us to realize that, no matter how far from God we may find ourselves today, the way back is shorter than we can imagine.

Life throws stones in our way all the time and “The Free Way” is the path to avoiding some of these stones.  How can we turn the stones we stumble over into stepping stones that lead to Jesus?

Finally, we will reach “The Other Way.”  It is here that we realize that the road to Jesus feels like both the end and the beginning.  As we get closer to the destination of our pilgrimage, we notice yet another starting point on this road to transformation.

I pray that you will go on pilgrimage with me this Lent.  For me it is always on the journey that I find time to reflect on what is going on in my life and where I should seek to improve.  Pilgrimage calls us to really think about our relationship with Jesus and what we can do to make it better.  Pilgrimage urges us to seek more holy ways to live our lives as children of God.  “The Way” reminds us that, “You don’t choose a life; you live a life.”

Grace and peace,
Pastor Don

(The film, “The Way” is rated PG-13 and is available through Redbox and Netflix.)